This group will be a warm, friendly and open support group for parents whose toddler or older child has received a diagnosis of mild to moderate autism spectrum disorder or other related developmental and pragmatic based communication challenges. Discussions will be centered around the DIR/Floortime framework, a comprehensive evidenced based social-emotional Developmental approach. Discussions will consistently include how to slow down, understand, enter and engage your child's world (i.e., his/her natural intent or affect) in order to meaningfully encourage and deepen back and forth spontaneous gestural and verbal reciprocity; simple to complex ideation (i.e., functional to symbolic play) and simple utterances to full pragmatic expressive language as your child begins to move up the Developmental ladder.
One of the primary motivating factors in forming this support group was based upon a consistent and not unoften tremendously voiced outrage by many families from more than thirty countries over 16 years of my practice as a Developmental special educator with respect to not being presented with an alternative evidenced-based treatment intervention option other than a behavioral based methodology (ABA) which primarily targets changing the child's disruptive or "non-compliant behaviors" but not sufficiently the fundamental and core social-emotional aspects of developing and maintaining spontaneous initiation, complex engagement, thinking, relating and communicating and the regulating factors behind the behaviors. This includes each child's highly unique set of sensory-affect-motor processing challenges. For example, over-responsive, under-responsive or mixed responsivities across one or more sensory domains, such as touch, sound, movement, etc.
However, the first and foremost primary function of this group will be not to present and inform about differences in varying methodologies but much more importantly to give center stage with open, attentive and empathic listening and encourage comfortably and safely many voiced and unvoiced fears, anxieties and concerns by families irrespective of treatment methodology used.
DIR/Floortime is a biological-social-psychological framework for understanding how children in their processing of relationship interactions with primary caregivers develop in the first three years of life and how this begins to set the necessary foundations for all functional emotional and developmental growth throughout the lifespan. It is based upon the six primary core functional-emotional developmental capacities or milestones that directly involve child/primary caregiver social emotional relating/engaging, thinking and communicating and that are typically mastered by each child during the first three years of life. This includes:
1) Self-Regulation and Taking Interest in the World. 2) Engagement and Relating (Falling in Love). 3) Purposeful Two-Way Communication. 4) Complex Communication and Problem Solving. 5) Using Symbols and Creating Emotional Ideas. 6) Logical Thinking and Building Bridges Between Ideas.
DIR/Floortime (Developmental Individual processing Relationship differences) was founded in the early 1980’s by the late Stanley Greenspan, M.D. (Child Psychiatrist and former director NIMH Mental Health Study Center and the Clinical Infant Development Program; clinical professor of Psychiatry, Behavioral Science and Pediatrics at George Washington University Medical School and Chairman, of the Interdisciplinary Council on Developmental and Learning Disorders) and Serena Wider, Ph.D. (Clinical Psychologist) in collaboration with Terry Berry Brazelton (Pediatrician), Julius Richmond, M.D. (Surgeon General), Selma Fraiberg (Psychiatrist) and others at the Clinical Infant Development Program at the National Institute of Mental Health.
My apologies but first meeting had to be rescheduled until location can be found anticipated first meeting early Fall. All suggestions are welcomed.